The 9 Best Duffel Bags to Buy in 2018

Don't like traditional suitcases? Check out these awesome duffel bags

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Duffels are a popular choice among travelers because they are often lighter than standard luggage, but can hold a lot of gear. As luggage companies expand and improve on duffel bags, you’ll find some with rolling wheels, backpack straps, waterproof material and stylish designs. Whether in need of a carry-on sized bag or something a bit larger, check out our recommendations for the best duffels available today.

Our Top Picks

01 of 09

Best Overall: Plambag Unisex's Canvas Duffel Bag Oversized Travel Tote

Plambag Unisex's Canvas Duffel Bag Oversized Travel Tote Luggage Bag
Courtesy of Amazon.com
4.5

If you’re planning a long weekend getaway, the “Plambag Unisex Canvas Duffel” is a stylish-looking bag that is also functional and affordable. It's made of cotton canvas material that comes in grey, coffee, army green or dark grey, and it also features classic, attractive zipper pulls. Wear it on your shoulder or leave the strap and carry it like a tote. There are three layers of lining, rubber grips on the bottom (so if you set it on something wet it won’t seep through the fabric) and plenty of pockets. When fully expanded, it measures 24.4 x 9.8 x 11.8 inches otherwise it is 20.8 inches long – a great size for a short trip.

Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best weekender bag article.

02 of 09

Best Weekend Bag: Gonex 45-Liter Duffel

The Gonex 45-liter duffel ticks all the boxes: there are plenty of pockets, it’s durable, affordable, spacious and well-constructed, making it a solid choice overall. Available in six different color combinations such as dark green with tan trim or gray and maroon, there’s a favorite for everyone. Measuring 20 x 11 x 9.6 inches, the main compartment holds a couple days’ clothes, plus has a large lid pocket that’s perfect for tablets or magazines, in addition to a small organizational pouch. The zippered sides of the bag comfortably fit shoes – keeping them separate from your clothing, and there are four additional small pockets for quick-access items. The duffel includes a shoulder strap and carry handles and is water resistant.  

03 of 09

Best Budget: Hexin Collapsible 85L Duffel Bag

 

If you just need a basic duffel bag to get your gear from point A to point B, the Hexin Collapsible 85L Duffel Bag is a great option at a budget-friendly price. Constructed from high-quality honeycomb nylon and durable two-way zippers, this large-capacity Hexin bag quickly folds down to a tiny pouch with a wrist strap that weighs just one pound. You can toss it in your purse or other luggage when not in use, making it the perfect extra bag for travel purchases or a quick replacement for a damaged suitcase. (The 85L bag is 28 x 12 x 16 inches and folds down to just 11.5 x 10 x 23 inches.)

This duffel has two front pockets to keep your valuable on-hand, as well as an expanding side pocket for storing dirty laundry or shoes while traveling. There are two hand straps and a detachable shoulder strap so you can configure it for easy carrying. It's available in seven different colors. Overall, the Hexin duffel is a large and versatile bag for a low price. 

04 of 09

Best Waterproof: Aqua Quest White Water Duffel

Aqua Quest White Water Duffel
Courtesy of Amazon.com

While many companies advertise luggage as being “waterproof” they are often just water resistant – a major difference. For those traveling to rainy areas, the “Aqua Quest White Water Duffel” is fully waterproof (unless completely submerged underwater). The company is based out of the Pacific Northwest and knows the importance of keeping necessary items dry. The Aqua Quest weighs 1.6 pounds, measures 24 x 12 x 12 inches and can carry 50 liters of travel gear. Like other waterproof bags, it rolls to stay closed and is made of abrasion-resistant fabric. It can also be carried using handles or with a shoulder sling strap.

Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09

Best Large Duffel: Code Alpha Mini Monster

Code Alpha Mini Monster
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Made of splash-resistant nylon and polyester, the “Code Alpha” duffel can hold a lot of gear, yet is easy to carry around. For starters, the bag is massive: it measures 33 x 17 x 13 inches and comes with a detachable toiletry kit on the side. Three rugged wheels make it easy to pull using the straps, but be aware that the bag doesn’t have a telescoping handle. The sturdy framework is designed so that the duffel keeps its form – whether full or not – and has a main compartment and mesh interior compartment. One drawback is that the bag doesn’t have many extra pockets for gadgets, but is an ideal choice for a checked bag.

06 of 09

Best Vintage Duffel: Kornall’s Passion Leather 21 Inch Duffel

Kornall’s Passion Leather 21 Inch Duffel
Courtesy of Amazon.com

If you're looking for a quality-crafted duffel with style, the “KPL 21 Inch Vintage Leather Duffel” fits the bill. At 21 x 14 x 9 inches it is just the right size for a carry-on bag and looks sharp with fashionable brown leather and bronze buckles. The vintage-style bag is handmade from chemical and dye-free leather and weighs 4.4 pounds. It comes with leather carry handles and a detachable shoulder strap with two side exterior pockets and one front pocket. However, there are no interior pockets to separate items. The bag is well constructed, comes with a personal letter from the maker and is available at a reasonable price – making it a popular choice with Amazon buyers.

07 of 09

Best Sports Duffel: Elite Sports Warrior Series Gym Bag

Great for a trip to the gym, this sturdy duffel from Elite Sports keeps all your gear in one place. The bag is composed of a heavy-duty material called Cordura, a high-grade ballistic 1200 denier that’s used in military gear, so it’s super durable and can handle being thrown in the trunk. The Warrior Series has plenty of storage, including a waterproof beverage pocket, a jacket strap, a secure internal pocket for valuables and an exterior pocket for shoes that keeps dirt off the rest of your gear. Plus, it has a ventilated mesh compartment for dirty gym clothes. But what really takes this bag to the next level is its convertibility — a pair of retractable shoulder straps transform the Warrior Series into a backpack in seconds. It is available in both medium (20 x 9 x 11 inches) and large (11 x 23 x 12 inches) sizes, and comes in six different colors, from neutral black and gray to bright pink and red.

08 of 09

Best Rugged: The Gregory Alpaca

Gregory Alpaca Duffel 45L
Courtesy of Jet.com

The Gregory Alpaca Duffel is premium-quality duffel that can withstand the elements and is well worth the higher price tag. With a 45-liter capacity, the weatherproof bag can take the wear and tear from the airport and is ideal for outdoor adventures. In addition to carry handles, the duffel features removable padded backpack straps for easy transportation – great for hiking. The water-resistant bag has reinforced threads for high performance and has a small exterior zippered pouch for quick access items, a “U-shaped” main compartment, as well as a large mesh interior pocket. There’s also a slot for IDs and plenty of exterior loops for attaching carabiners. It is available in bright blue or black. 

Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09

Best Style: Dakine EQ Bag

Dakine EQ Bag 31L
Courtesy of Zappos.com

For a travel duffel bag that looks less like a gym bag and more like a fashionable carry-on, the Dakine EQ Bag is a popular option. With several print designs, including turquoise with hibiscus flowers and white and black Aztec prints, the duffel is the perfect travel accessory. Measuring 15.5 x 9 x 10 inches and with a volume of 31 liters, the Dakine bag makes a great carry on for weekend getaways. When not in use, the polyester fabric can be folded for easy storage. Some features buyers appreciate are the carry handles and shoulder strap, zippered side pocket for small items such as phones and wallets and “U-Shaped” interior storage area. 

Products We Tested

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 15 hours testing one of the most popular duffel bags available. To get the most well-rounded results, our testers packed their things and toted it to and from their destinations for hours at a time. We asked our reviewers to consider the most important features while using this duffel bag, from durability to comfort. We've outlined the major takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Duffel Bag

Size Duffels come in all sizes, from an overnight carry-on to bags that can hold a week’s worth of gear. Envision your likely load, and think about sizing up a bit to give you some additional space. If you want an easy-to-carry bag to bring souvenirs home from a trip, look for ones that collapse into themselves so you can stash it in your other luggage and pull it out for the trip home.

Organization If you’re in the market for one big bag to carry everything, models with a big main pocket will suffice, though they typically come with a few additional zippered pockets for smaller items. Other designs distribute their storage into a handful of different sections, which helps you keep things more organized.

Comfort Every duffel bag comes with a shoulder strap. For optimum comfort, look for one that’s adjustable, padded, and removable. Bags with wheels often include telescoping handles, which allow you to roll through airports and across pavement with ease, then lift the pack to carry it with the shoulder strap when the terrain gets rough.

Test Results: Plambag Unisex's Canvas Duffel Bag Oversized Travel Tote (Best Overall)

4.5

What We Like

  • Attractive design

  • Durable

  • Comfortable

What We Don't Like

  • Not enough storage space

Plambag Unisex's Canvas Duffel Bag Oversized Travel Tote
Plambag Unisex's Canvas Duffel Bag Travel Tote

This duffel bag came highly recommended by our testers for its sleek design and its many useful storage compartments. It was also very comfortable to carry: “I really liked the strap and the bag didn’t seem too bulky even when there was a lot of stuff inside of it,” one tester noted. The only thing our testers wished was different? The bag’s size. “I would have made it little larger,” said one reviewer. “With a laptop inside, I couldn’t fit a ton of clothes.”